© Michèle Monico
A life on, in and around the water has always been a part of William’s heritage. He started this life with his father, a scuba instructor and Search & Rescue diver, teaching him how to hold his breath, first in the pool and later in the ocean of the Pacific Northwest. By the age of ten, he was diving to twelve meters on a single breath of air.
For the next ten years, he spent most of his time swimming laps in a pool as a competitive swimmer. Occasionally, there was the odd foray to the ocean with his father, but mostly his focus was winning medals in the pool.
His next big aquatic venture would be that of surfing. He caught the bug while on a trip to Hawaii, and spent the time pursuing a love for surfing big waves. Between surf sessions, he would go searching for dinner under the ocean with a pole spear. Many years later, he began spending a lot more time spearfishing which led to blue water hunting, and many opportunities to swim with dolphins, whales and sharks.
Wanting to be able to hold his breath longer in order to be able to swim with and observe these creatures, William took a freediving course with then-US-record-holder Deron Verbeck. This experience brought him full-circle with his childhood breath-holding sessions.
This was early 2005. In May of that year, he embraced the competitive world of freediving and quickly established himself as one of the few freedivers in the world who can excel in pool and depth competitions, earning several medals at World Championships. After three years of competitive freediving and countless Pan-American records in virtually all disciplines, William started using his breath-hold talents in aid of ocean conservation, photographing sharks and placing tracking devices on these apex predators for researchers.
In 2009, together with world-renowned photographer and former freediving word-record holder Fred Buyle, he created Ocean Encounters, a breath-hold diving school with an environmental focus. In 2012, William Winram founded The Watermen Project, an NPO dedicated to ocean conservation.
Today, while William still competes at an international level, he shares his time between underwater filming, teaching specialty courses on breathing and breath-hold (public and corporate) as well as coaching other freediving competitors.
Back on land, Winram also gives himself to public presentations on shark behaviour and conservation, in various parts of the globe, using the media garnered during expeditions to educate the public about true shark behaviour.
“Make no mistake: breath-hold diving is a very challenging activity, both for the body and mind, which requires proper training and knowledge, particularly around safety concerns.
Freediving is about the freedom of being unencumbered by bulky equipment; the freedom to explore the underwater world and interact with its many creatures in the most natural, non-invasive way.
Ultimately, freediving is about expanding the possibilities of human potential.”
Shark Publicist / Waterman / Underwater Storyteller
Ocean Environmentalist / Photographer / Videographer